As an artist and frequenter of the contemporary art world, I have yet to be as impressed with painting as I am with the works of Iris Grace Halmshaw. Iris Grace is a 3 year-old from England and she is autistic. She has trouble expressing herself through words and social interactions - instead, she's incredibly in tune with the language of color, movement and rhythm. She can pick up a brush and go for hours, only stopping to squeal with excitement.
The girl's work is extremely sophisticated for her age and beyond! She evokes a quiet peace that captures the essence and humility of nature.
It's almost as if each piece is encased in water. They're all very fluid, each having its own personality yet still unifying with the others. Whether the piece lends itself to an underwater, deep ocean experience, or a storm watched through weeping willows, Iris Grace's affinity for water and nature is evident.
The Story of the Secret Seahorse
Her paintings are so fluid that it's almost as if they exude a slow, vibrational hum. The absence of any clear-cut, completely defined forms helps to create this effect. The layers of blending, shading and gradation in conjunction with some scratched out lines or dots of color, always in repetition, create a meditative space that the viewer can dive right into. Iris Grace provides a window for the outside world to see how she feels and who she is.
But I doubt that Iris Grace paints to be understood. Her love and passion for this craft is what gives her peace. The effects that painting has had on Iris are truly profound. According to her parents, she's become more susceptible to making eye contact, which was a challenge for her in the past, and she's also begun to speak more. Every time the paints are brought out, her mood lifts and her eyes fill with excitement.
Painting opens up a psychological, artistic and emotional space where Iris Grace can be free to develop at her own pace, make her own decisions about what color should go where and what movement she will make. She gets really free. She opens up. She even takes her top off and paints outside, in nature with the bugs, dirt, grass and the sky in all their glory.
It seems like the art world has fully embraced Iris Grace - she's already sold a number of pieces! And the best news: Her original work will be auctioned off in August to benefit Iris’s Therapy Fund, the National Autistic Society and the Autism Research Trust. You can bid online for those originals, or buy prints anytime.
Check out Iris's website for more information about the paintings and the girl herself! Or just lose yourself in more of her dreamy masterpieces; that's what I'm going to do.
You can also follow Iris Grace on Twitter @IrisPainting and keep the beauty flowing.
Photos via IrisGracePaiting.com